Decoding Moments of Tension in Edith Wharton’s ‘The Age of Innocence’

September 14, 2020

At the Guardian, Sam Jordinson reflects on the many moments of sexual tension found in Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer-winning novel, The Age of Innocence. “Every small moment takes on huge significance,” Jordinson writes. “Archer and May’s brief disagreements over whether or not windows should be left open somehow say more about the state of their relationship than any number of screaming rows might have done. There are all kinds of similar telepathies with flowers sent and not sent, envelopes left empty, parties attended and avoided. There’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘tremble’ in a library that changes the destiny of all the main characters in an instant. As a reader, the very act of decoding these messages immerses you ever deeper in the attitudes and customs of this strange world. It makes for a fascinating, engrossing experience.”

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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